Our Earth Star
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Our Earth StarLove and cherish the planet.
During the four short years of the manned Apollo space program, from December 1968 to December 1972, six of the lunar missions landed humans on the moon and brought them back safely to Earth (and yes, they really did land on the moon). The program was named after Apollo, the Greek god of light, music, and the sun, and was as mythic as the god himself. What really surprised the astronauts, however, was not the moon itself, but the view of Earth from space.
As Frank Borman from the Apollo 8 mission said: “I think the one overwhelming emotion that we had was when we saw the earth rising in the distance over the lunar landscape . . . . It makes us realize that we all do exist on one small globe. From 230,000 miles away it really is a small planet. . . . It was hard to think that that little thing held so many problems, so many frustrations. Raging nationalistic interests, famines, wars, pestilence don't show from that distance.”
Or as Mike Collins, an astronaut on Apollo 11, put it: “Oddly enough the overriding sensation I got looking at the earth was, my God, that little thing is so fragile out there.” These sentiments by early astronauts, along with countless expressions of the beauty of planet Earth, put into focus the two main reactions that we need to keep in mind today. First, we live on this small orb, which, when seen from the perspective of space, has no divisions into countries or states or races or gender or any division other than land and sea.
We are One—all members of humankind sharing one round sphere traveling in the blackness of space. And secondly, the astronauts could see how small the biosphere is that surrounds the planet and makes it livable. They could feel how fragile and vulnerable we are.
Seeing Earth from space changed not only the astronauts who had that direct experience, but the pictures of our beautiful “Blue Marble” and the iconic shot called “Earthrise” changed the perspective of those of us on Earth. Never before had mankind been able to see the world as a single sphere, a globe—the world as one. For those of you who are old enough to remember the Whole Earth Catalogue, the picture of our blue marble graced its front cover. The “whole earth” was seemingly everywhere in popular culture.
These shots of Earth from space also brought forth the Gaia principle by James Lovelock and Lynn Margolis, which is now used in disciplines like climate science, biogeochemistry, and systems ecology. Gaia is the ancient Greek goddess who is the personification of Earth, the Great Mother of all. Her Roman equivalent is Terra. And just what are we doing to the great goddess Gaia?
What we humans are doing to Mother Earth is also visible from space. Astronaut Sally Ride said: “Oil slicks glisten on the surface of the Persian Gulf, patches of pollution-damaged trees dot the forests of central Europe. Some cities look out of focus, and their colors muted, when viewed through a pollutant haze.”
Sometimes it’s necessary to step back from what we think we know up close in order to get the bigger picture. Down here on Terra firma, we see divisions in everything—rich vs. poor, Democrat vs. Republican, black vs. white, male vs. female, terrorist vs. hero. Yet, in reality, we are one, way beyond the oneness shown in the photos taken from space. We are one on the level of our souls, including the entire planet and the universe beyond—the energetic core of us all is One.
The problems we face on Earth are also one—they are global in scale. Climate change involves the whole world, from the melting icecaps to the warmer winters in your home town. The “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” is only one of the plastic islands floating in the world’s oceans. Only 0.3 percent of the total water on Earth is useable for drinking due to pollution of underground water sources from human activity. The list of woes seems endless, but small changes in one place can result in large differences later—called the “butterfly effect.” If more and more of us see Earth not from outer space, but from inner space—the space of Oneness—we can look at all the difficulties with a new perspective, and an understanding that we really are all in this together. The time has come to go way beyond nationalistic interests and all work together. We can change our relationship to Gaia from one of raping her to one of loving and protecting her.
Taylor Wang, a payload specialist on the Space Shuttle Challenger, put it another way: “A Chinese tale tells of some men sent to harm a young girl who, upon seeing her beauty, become her protectors rather than her violators. That's how I felt seeing the Earth for the first time. I could not help but love and cherish her.”
After all, we are all just hitching a ride on Spaceship Earth. Let’s all love and cherish her.